A Word to Mothers: You can lose your children to parental alienation

A Word to Mothers: You can lose your children to parental alienation

As mother’s day approaches I want to take a moment to unequivocally state that yes mothers even good mothers can lose their children to parental alienation. One common myth that seems to be “out there” in the world is that parental alienation is something that only happens to fathers and that mothers, because they tend to have residential custody and because (the theory goes) the courts are biased against fathers, rarely lose their kids this way. While no one has data about the exact gender break down, I can say that without a doubt some mothers do and have been victimized in this way. I believe that part of why this is not talked about as much as fathers’ experiences of parental alienation is that mothers who do lose their kids this way are overcome with shame and humiliationand tend to not want to go public with their story. In my conversations with targeted mothers a common theme is that they perceive other people as thinking that they must have done something wrong for their child to reject them. Many stay silent for this reason, to avoid being blamed and shamed.

Continue reading A Word to Mothers: You can lose your children to parental alienation

Recommendations for Dealing with Parents Who Induce a Parental Alienation Syndrome in Their Children

Recommendations for Dealing with Parents Who Induce a Parental Alienation Syndrome in Their Children

by RICHARD A. GARDNER

ABSTRACT: The parental alienation syndrome is commonly seen in highly contested child-custody disputes. The author has described three types: mild, moderate, and severe$each of which requires special approaches by both legal and mental health professionals. The purpose of this article is to correct some misinterpretations of the author’s recommendations as well as to add some recently developed refinements. Particular focus is given to the transitional-site program that can be extremely useful for dealing with the severe type of parental alienation syndrome. Dealing properly with parental-alienation-syndrome families requires close cooperation between legal and mental health professionals. Without such cooperation therapeutic approaches are not likely to succeed. With such cooperation the treatment, in many cases, is likely to be highly effective.

THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. It is a disorder in which children, programmed by the allegedly “loved” parent, embark upon a campaign of denigration of the allegedly “hated” parent. The children exhibit little if any ambivalence over their hatred, which often spreads to the extended family of the allegedly despised parent. Most often mothers are the initiators of such programming, and fathers are the victims of the campaigns of deprecation. However, in a small percentage of cases it is the father who is the primary programmer and the mother who comes to be viewed as the “hated” parent. Furthermore, we are not dealing here with simple “brainwashing” by one parent against the other. The children’s own scenarios of denigration often contribute and complement those promulgated by the programming parent. Accordingly, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) to refer to both of these contributions to the disorder. Because of the children’s cognitive immaturity their scenarios may often appear preposterous to adults. Of course, if the hated parent has genuinely been abusive, then the children’s alienation is warranted and the PAS concept is not applicable.

There are three type of parental alienation syndrome: mild, moderate, and severe. It goes beyond the purposes of this report to describe in full detail the differences between these three types. At this point only a brief summary, however, is important here. In the mild type, the alienation is relatively superficial and the children basically cooperate with visitation, but are intermittently critical and disgruntled. In the moderate type, the alienation is more formidable, the children are more disruptive and disrespectful, and the campaign of denigration may be almost continual. In the severe type, visitation may be impossible, so hostile are the children, hostile even to the point of being physically violent toward the allegedly hated parent. Other forms of acting out may be present, acting out that is designed to cause formidable grief to the parent who is being visited. In many cases the children’s hostility has reached paranoid levels, that is, delusions of persecution and/or fears that they will be murdered in situations where there is absolutely no evidence that such will be the case.

Continue reading Recommendations for Dealing with Parents Who Induce a Parental Alienation Syndrome in Their Children

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

Tears_Of_Divorce_by_happiestEMO-300x225.jpg

What children of divorce most want and need is to maintain healthy and strong relationships with both of their parents, and to be shielded from their parents’ conflicts. Some parents, however, in an effort to bolster their parental identity, create an expectation that children choose sides. In more extreme situations, they foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In the most extreme case, children are manipulated by one parent to hate the other, despite children’s innate desire to love and be loved by both their parents.

What is parental alienation ?

Parental alienation involves the “programming” of a child by one parent to denigrate the other “targeted” parent, in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child’s relationship with that parent, and is often a sign of a parent’s inability to separate from the couple conflict and focus on the needs of the child. Such denigration results in the child’s emotional rejection of the targeted parent, and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the life of the child. Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept of “parental alienation syndrome” 20 years ago, defining it as, “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.” Children’s views of the targeted parent are almost exclusively negative, to the point that the parent is demonized and seen as evil.

As Baker writes, parental alienation involves a set of strategies, including bad-mouthing the other parent, limiting contact with that parent, erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child, forcing the child to reject the other parent.

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

 

Devastated Fathers Speak Out About Parental Alienation

Devastated Fathers Speak Out About Parental Alienation

Written by Jasmin

For any parent who is alienated from their child, every single day brings the painful realisation that they are missing a vital piece of their heart and soul. To me it is an unimaginable pain, and yet one I encounter on an almost daily basis as I support men who through no fault of their own, have had this inflicted upon them.

Birthdays, holidays, and festive occasions are all exceptionally difficult times for alienated parents and after Christmas Day there is perhaps none more damaging or hurtful for men than being alienated on Father’s Day.

Many Australian families will be celebrating the role of father’s in their children’s lives this week. Little children will be rushing into Dad’s room to give him the present they made at school, or purchased from the school fete. Older children will be giving Dad a hug, making him breakfast and letting him know he is loved. Sadly though, many fathers will inevitably be alone on Father’s Day and prevented from seeing their children from whom they are cut off and intentionally alienated.

Born from nothing short of spite, hatred and monetary gain, many women will refuse contact on this day if it doesn’t fall on the ‘right’ weekend. For men who are fully alienated and have no contact, often through false allegations, they will know like other years before that they must yet again face this painful day and somehow survive it.

I asked some men from my support group to share their words of what it means to them to be an alienated Dad on Father’s Day. Here are there heartfelt replies.

Hurt. On the most important day in a Father’s life after birth, being with your children on Father’s Day and denied by the mother. It is a knife to the heart, it reduces you to tears and desperation and questions your own worth.

Devastated, heartbroken, confused. I see my daughter for 30 hours in a whole year and they have canceled repeated scheduled visits through no fault of my own. I tried to arrange to see her on Father’s Day, but the mother won’t agree.

You loose hope and you feel suicidal anger and it changes you in a big way , so you move on in this difficult life and carry the pain for the rest off your life.

Continue reading Devastated Fathers Speak Out About Parental Alienation

What Can Yet be Done With Older Children Who Have Been Long Term Victims of Parental Alienation?

What Can Yet be Done With Older Children Who Have Been Long Term Victims of Parental Alienation?

Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D

Southern England Psychological Services

2012

Abstract & Summary

One of the most difficult tasks facing expert witnesses (psychologists/psychiatrists) is seeking to reverse parental alienation of long standing when the child has reached adolescence or become an adult. Despite the difficulty the author describes a strategy which is sometimes effective to make a victim aware of the constancy of the alienated parent.s love, and to provide a rational explanation, via a letter, for the now adult explaining the process of parental alienation.

What Can Yet be Done With Older Children Who Have Been Long Term Victims of Parental Alienation?

Introduction

I begin with the two recent letters received which follow and show the concerns of two long term alienated parents who have not had contact with their older children (16+) for many years. The parents who were so alienated have in many cases been virtually obliterated in the minds of these now older children, adolescents and adults. The children.s names in these scenarios have been changed to avoid identification since they are based on real cases. We will consider first the causes and long term effects of the alienation of children followed by some possible strategies for dealing with the long term effects of parental alienation in the older child, adolescent, and even adult.

Causes and long term effects of alienation of children

The causes of long term alienation is most often the unceasing, implacable hostility of the custodial parent against the now long term alienated parent. It may be noted, in at least one of the letters, that the process of turning a child against a parent starts early and is ongoing and relentless. The innocent parent often is not permitted to have any contact with the child and the child eventually adopts the view of the alienator and rejects what is so often a good parent. The alienated parent is not allowed to play any part in bringing up the child and of guiding that child. Such animosity of the hostile parent.s action is eventually difficult to reverse. The child, and later adolescent, increasingly believes he/she has indeed only one good parent and the other is a bad parent. The latter is the vilified, rejected father/mother.

The alienated parent suffers tremendously from the unjust rejection he/she has to endure. Some parents such as those so unjustly treated eventually follow the advice of an expert psychologist understanding family problems and start another family. At the same time they should .keep the door open. for the child who has been alienated to make contact. This unfortunately seldom happens, especially with the passage of time. Judges frequently predict wrongly, that the child when an adult will untimately make contact with the rejected parent of their own volition. Here unfortunately is where we have the situation where the absence does not make .the heart grow fonder.. It is just the reverse: absence leads to the forgetting or total rejection of the absent parent.In the back of their minds, however, such children have a memory of eventually understanding how they have been unjustly and cruelly turned against the alienated parent. Sometimes this does not occur and they should be made aware of this by the psychologist seeking to remedy the situation.Frequently, I have told such parents that they should have counteracted such alienation earlier, and if necessary, to have sought a change of residence for such emotionally abused children. There response is a combination of regret, anger and a feeling of betrayal as well as helplessness now that they are seeking help so belatedly.

Continue reading What Can Yet be Done With Older Children Who Have Been Long Term Victims of Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation: the impact on men’s mental health.

Parental alienation: the impact on men’s mental health.

Abstract

Parental alienation is defined as a mental state in which a child, usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation or divorce, allies himself strongly with one parent (the preferred parent) and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification. Parental alienation may affect men’s mental health: a) parental alienation negatively influences mental health of male children and adolescents who are victims of parental alienation. Alienated children/adolescents display guilt, sadness, and depressed mood; low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence; distress and frustration; lack of impulse control, substance abuse and delinquent behavior; separation anxiety, fears and phobias; hypochondria and increased tendency to develop psychosomatic illness; suicidal ideation and suicide attempt; sleep and eating disorders; educational problems; enuresis and encopresis; b) parental alienation negatively affects the mental health of adult men who were victims of parental alienation when they were children and/or adolescents. Long-term effects of parental alienation include low self-esteem, depression, drug/alcohol abuse, lack of trust, alienation from own children, divorce, problems with identity and not having a sense of belonging or roots, choosing not to have children to avoid being rejected by them, low achievement, anger and bitterness over the time lost with the alienated parent; c) parental alienation negatively influences mental health of men who are alienated from their children. Fathers who have lost some or all contact with their children for months or years following separation or divorce may be depressed and suicidal.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26565536

Parent Alienation & It’s Devastating Effects

Parent Alienation & It’s Devastating Effects

Parent alienation syndrome was first identified and documented by psychiatrist, Richard Gardner, in the 1980’s.

While there continues to be controversy and debate over whether this diagnostic label should or should not be used when working with a family system where these behaviors and dynamics exist, the fact is that parent alienation does occur. The higher the conflict between separating or divorcing parents, the higher the likelihood that behaviors and attitudes associated with parental alienation will occur.

Every day, the family court system is inundated with cases where a 730 custody evaluation has been ordered to determine what is in the “best interest of the child” based on who is the most “fit” parent. I have found that when a 730 child custody evaluation is ordered by a family court, often parental alienation is occurring and court intervention is necessary to prevent it from continuing.

In my work with adult daughters, raised by very difficult or personality disordered mothers, many times what surfaces in our work together is a childhood history wrought with confusion, trauma, loss, psychological torture, double-binds, loyalty conflicts, and both, direct and indirect alienating behaviors on the part of their mothers, their mother’s families, and sometimes the father’s families who have inappropriately aligned themselves against the father and with the alienating mother. Often when the father’s family members align with the alienating mother, it is due to their fear that they will not be allowed to see the children, so they sacrifice their relationship and loyalty to their own family member who is the father of the children, in service to their need to continue to be allowed access to the children by the alienating mother.

Continue reading Parent Alienation & It’s Devastating Effects

Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Overview

Ten years ago, the term ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)’ was virtually unknown outside of the USA. Today it is one of the key factors in changing the laws of custody.

Paradoxically, at the time of writing it is not recognised by any government authority in the UK. Nor do the Family-courts, Family-lawyers, Child-welfare organisations or child psychiatrists generally accept it, yet they will admit that the problem of hostile separations, and the alienating of children against the non-resident parent is common, and well known by all who deal with these matters.

Understanding why those in the worlds of Family-law and Family-business do not accept PAS is the key to understanding why one father in three in the UK will not see his children grow up.
What is the Parental Alienation Syndrome?

The full description of PAS can be found in the works of Dr Richard Gardner MD, and on his website at www.rgardner.com and at also www.parentalalienation.com , but briefly:

It is the systematic denigration of the non-resident parent by the resident parent with the intent of alienating children against the non-resident parent. The pattern of PAS behaviour is common to some degree or other in all custody disputes.

Children who have been alienated will claim that it is their own decision to reject the non-resident parent. Once this happens, it could be several years before the non-resident parent will see their children again.

It is the child’s claim that they are not influenced in their decision by the resident parent, which makes it difficult to deal with, as the child’s ‘evidence’ is regarded as crucial to the courts decision.

Continue reading Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

8 Ways To Help You And Your Child Combat Parental Alienation

8 Ways To Help You And Your Child Combat Parental Alienation

How to see it happening, how to stop it from happening.

Parental Alienation is a consistent set of behaviors that seek to drive a wedge between a parent and a child. Methods of PA can be very subtle, such as making a child feel guilty for spending time with their other parent, or more deliberate, like purposely throwing away letters and gifts of the other parent.

Parental Alienation is a form of child abuse, not to be taken lightly. Why is it so serious? For one, a child deserves to have a full and loving relationship with both parents. As long as neither parent exhibits behaviors that could be detrimental to the child (such as a substantiated history of abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, criminal behavior, and anything else potentially damaging to the child), then the child should not be kept apart from either mom or dad.

As an adult who grew up alienated from her father, I can personally attest to the fact that when a parent is not in a child’s life, he or she can feel as though they are not lovable or good enough. For my entire childhood I was led to believe that my father was not interested in a relationship. My mother routinely told me what a terrible person he was and prevented our relationship by refusing his calls, not answering the door when he came for me, and throwing away cards and gifts. I still have issues with not feeling valuable, and I fear those I love will leave me.

 

Continue reading 8 Ways To Help You And Your Child Combat Parental Alienation

MOTHER SHAMING: THE DYNAMICS OF THE ALIENATING FATHER

MOTHER SHAMING: THE DYNAMICS OF THE ALIENATING FATHER

Originally posted on Karen Woodall

Disclaimer:
As PMA International has posted before, we prefer the term DV by Proxy to explain the manipulations an abuser parent uses to teach the child to reject the protective parent. We prefer this term because;

1. It more accurately depicts the actions taken by the abuser parent towards the child
2. There has been a lot of misinformation about parental alienation circulating the internet and beyond.
3. The term parental alienation and /or parental alienation syndrome has been use as a legal defense for abusive dads in family court. Most often this term has been used by the attorneys of dads who sexual abuse their children. This defense is used – most often- by attorneys in family court for the purpose of deflecting blame from the criminal actions of their client onto the protective mother.
4 The result of the above has frequently been, abusers winning custody due to this misuse of the term.
Because the term is so emotionally charge for protective mothers, and for all the reasons above, we feel DV by Proxy is a better choice. Please keep in mind others still use the term Parental Alienation. Since PMA International did not author this piece, the term parental alienation or alienation may be used.

The truth is that much of the alienated mother shaming that I see happening is perpetuated by those feminist trained professionals who profess to care so much for women. Which is another reason why this group of alienated parents is invisible and unable to share their experience widely. Karen Woodall

It is often said that parental alienation is not a gender issue, by this people mean that the issue can affect either mothers or fathers. At first glance however, it would appear that alienated mothers are in the minority, but in reality they are not so small a group. What faces alienated mothers however is something so deeply unpleasant and so deeply shaming, that it is small wonder that so many women in these circumstances do not reveal to the outside world what has happened to them. Not only do alienated mothers face the loss of their children and all of the grief and suffering that goes with that, they face the hostile and deeply suspicious attitudes of society at large, where the belief that if a mother has lost her children, she must have done something dreadful to deserve it, is an obstinate and poisonous mindset.

Continue reading MOTHER SHAMING: THE DYNAMICS OF THE ALIENATING FATHER

Learning To Deserve Love As A Child Of Divorce

Learning To Deserve Love As A Child Of Divorce

I was in middle school when the papers were signed. I pictured those signatures like they had been written in blood, with words that might as well have read, “No more Baker family.” Mom and Dad were not a unit anymore; now they were Mom, and then Dad. At 11 years old, I thought their divorce would end after the night we all cried in the living room. I thought they would tell us it was over, and then it would be over. But the next day when I woke — crusty-eyed and small — it was all still happening. It was then that I learned that Divorce exists with a capital D, and it’s a word that constantly transcends a single label — especially, as I found, for the child.

I believe that with the right work and commitment to healing, adults can separate in such a way that allows their whole family to find peace. My family and I are still on this journey: We typically haven’t felt familial since the divorce. It always seems more difficult to connect, and everyone has wavering opinions of each other. We never say it out loud, but I know we are always thinking about how we each cope with our own neuroses. A sort of inherent judgment has come from the simple act of shifting our family dynamic into something individualized and less wholesome.

I’m not anti-divorce and I don’t blame my parents for terminating their marriage. It was necessary, but I didn’t realize just how crucial it was until years later.

Continue reading Learning To Deserve Love As A Child Of Divorce

Parental Alienation: It’s About More Than “A Uterus, Divorce Papers and Bruises”

Parental Alienation: It’s About More Than “A Uterus, Divorce Papers and Bruises”

By Cathy Meyer.

Certified Marriage Educator and Divorce Coach

Over the last few months Father’s Rights activists have been attempting to have Parental Alienation Disorder added to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the American Psychiatric Association’s “bible” of diagnoses.

When learning of this effort the National Organization for Women (NOW) became concerned and sent out an Action Alert to counter the campaign. According to NOW’s Tracy Simmons:

Parental Alienation Syndrome has now morphed into Parental Alienation Disorder thanks to the fathers’ rights organizations who are wildly pushing this through, and why wouldn’t they? It benefits the abuser and discriminates against the victims of abuse, which are overwhelmingly women.

This gender specific, abuse excuse, junk science can not be allowed to enter into the scientific community as there is nothing scientific about a syndrome/disorder whose only symptoms are a uterus, divorce papers, and bruises. I ask that you all to take action against legitimizing this outrageous theory by e-mailing the APA and asking your groups to do the same.”

I have a few concerns with Tracy Simmon’s beliefs on the subject and a few beliefs of my own in response to her statement.

1. Parental alienation syndrome is not a gender specific issue. It was once believed women were the main perpetrators of parental alienation, but no longer. “Fifty percent are men,” said Judith Ray, a licensed family therapist in Colorado Springs.

“Those who are men tend to be narcissistic, characterized by a sense of entitlement, arrogance and low empathy. Female alienators often have borderline personalities, marked by insecurity, neediness, a strong fear of abandonment and chronic emptiness.”

When we speak of parental alienation we aren’t talking about abusive fathers trying to further their misguided, ill treatment of a mother. We are talking about damaged parents, both mother and father whose children need to be protected from a different kind of abuse.

2. Only someone who has never been a victim of parental alienation would refer to it as “junk science.” The vast majority of parents who desire a consistent, loving relationship with a child are not driven by political, ideological, financial or any other scientific motives. The love a parent has for a child can’t be dismissed by accusations of domestic violence and the welfare of a child should not be overlooked in favor of a mother/father who has been a victim of domestic abuse.

If NOW is concerned about the further victimization of domestic abuse victims they themselves should be “wildly pushing” for the inclusion of Parental Alienation Disorder into the scientific community. What better way to empower a victim than to promote their right to bring legal action against someone who has not only abused them but attempts to abuse their child?

While experts debate the validity of parental alienation accusations, parents like myself and others are unequipped and unable to protect our children and our parental rights against an alienating mother or father. I say this will all due respect to victims of domestic violence…a parent’s right to protect the parental relationship with a child is as important as your right to protect yourself from your abuser.

When it comes to parental alienation the focus should be on the child who has a right to equal time with both Mom and Dad. Not on a parent who may or may not have been abused by an ex spouse. This won’t happen until parental alienation is viewed by the Family Court System as a recognized psychiatric disorder caused by an alienating parent….

Continue reading Parental Alienation: It’s About More Than “A Uterus, Divorce Papers and Bruises”

Parental Alienation Syndrome within Parental Abduction cases…….

Parental Alienation Syndrome within Parental Abduction cases…….

We thought we would cover a topic that we see far too often to not mention. CARI carries out on average 3-4 recoveries each month and unfortunately 70% of those recoveries we see signs of PAS.

Nothing stirs up passions more than the controversy generated when parents are at war over the custody of a child.   A controversy is an issue where evidence on both sides can make a compelling case. It is never black and white, but when people have their emotions aroused, an issue can quickly turn into two polar opposites.

In many cases, children behave outrageously, to the point of cursing one of their parents, and kicking, spitting, and calling them stupid, mean and horrible.

What is PAS?

1. The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes and Parental Child Abduction cases.

2. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification.

3. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) of a parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.

PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways:

  1. The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior.
  2. The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger.
  3. The child is sure of himself or herself and doesn’t demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate.
  4. The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this.
  5. The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent.
  6. The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent.
  7. The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced.
  8. Animosity is spread to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.

Continue reading Parental Alienation Syndrome within Parental Abduction cases…….

Don’t Be An Alienating Parent

Don’t Be An Alienating Parent

Are you allowing your unresolved divorce issues to turn you into an alienating parent? While you wouldn’t do anything to directly harm your children, your behavior regarding the other parent can be detrimental to your children. The following article sheds some light on the subtle ways in which one parent can undermine the other parent’s position after a divorce.

Are You An Alienating Parent?

Written by: Jeff Opperman
for WomansDivorce.com

What do you think would happen if comedian Jeff Foxworthy stopped telling redneck jokes and started talking about Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?

For example, instead of, “If you’ve ever cut your grass and found a car, you might be a redneck,” we’d hear,

“If you’ve ever disconnected the phone so you child’s other parent couldn’t get through, you might be an alienating parent.”

And in place of, “If someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle, you might be a redneck,” he’d tell us,

“If you’ve ever intercepted the other parent’s birthday present to the child and told the child ‘your mother/father didn’t send a gift,’ you might be an alienating parent.”

If Foxworthy goes from “you might be a redneck” to “you might be an alienating parent,” he might not be a comedian much longer. There is nothing funny about Parental Alienation Syndrome.

The late Dr. Richard A. Gardner, a New York psychiatrist and author of “The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide of Legal and Mental Health Professionals,” coined the term parental alienation approximately 20 years ago to characterize the breakdown of previously normal, healthy parent/child relationships during divorce and child custody cases.

What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

In PAS, one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the normal, loving relationship between his or her child and the child’s other parent. In severe PAS cases, the alienating parent and child work together to successfully eliminate the previously loved Mom or Dad from the child’s life.

An alienating parent’s behavior stems from the parent’s unresolved emotional issues. The parent uses the child to fill his or her unhealthy emotional needs at the expense of the other parent.

PAS experts have identified three levels of alienating behavior – mild, moderate and severe. In reality, these levels are nothing more than points along a continuum of behavior. The alienating parent may bounce between levels depending on his or her emotional state. And the parent’s emotions are based on a variety of factors – including how well the parent is dealing with those unresolved issues; and how well the child is meeting his or her new responsibilities to the parent.

Are you an alienating parent?

We won’t repeat our variation on Foxworthy’s familiar “… you might be a redneck” refrain after each of the following examples, but we will say it once. You might be an alienating parent if you:

  • Allow the child to talk negatively or disrespectfully about the other parent.
  • Set up tempting alternatives that would interfere with the other parent’s time with the child.
  • Give the child decision-making power about spending time with the other parent when no choice exists.
  • Act hurt and betrayed if the child shows any positive feelings towards the other parent…

Continue reading Don’t Be An Alienating Parent

Mediation Malaysia

Mediation Malaysia

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT:
Mother not always the best nurturer
2010/10/17A MEDIATION bureau comprising a panel of experts, including child and marriage counsellors, will be a better alternative to settling divorce cases than going through the courts.
The Association Against Parental Alienation Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (Pemalik) says putting children through the trauma of a custody hearing and subsequently denying them access to one parent is a form of abuse that needs to be addressed.

“If the interest of the child is paramount, then couples heading for a divorce need to first meet a panel of experts to reach an amicable settlement over issues such as custody, finance, education and the child’s upbringing before the divorce is formalised by the courts,” says Pemalik president R.S. Ratna.

He says the practice of courts usually awarding full custody of a child to the mother on the assumption that she is a better nurturer may no longer be applicable as many fathers have proven to be responsible parents as well.

Pemalik strongly believes that every child has the right to access his parents.

“Every child wants to love and be loved equally by both parents. They should not be denied that right unless their safety is at stake,” he says , adding that in most instances, one parent will alienate the other by “brainwashing” the child into believing that the other parent is bad.

“The biggest losers are always the children. It is painful enough for them to acknowledge that their parents are going through a divorce but to drag them to court for the custody battle is even more traumatic.”

Endless litigation by lawyers on both sides also adds to the problem.

There must be a better system.”

Parental Alienation Child Abuse NO MORE. Automatic (50/50) shared joint custody by default in court..

STOP THE EPIDEMIC OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME NOW..

We, the undersigned, are requesting The President of the United States, U.S. Congresspersons, Senators, and other Government employees and appointees to address the issue to Stop Parental Alienation and Make it a Crime Punishable by Law. As citizens of the U.S., we expect our government officials to represent us, address our valid concerns, having a severe impact, both short and long term, violence on our children’s population.

We call upon our representatives to take measures to preserve family Integrity and abolish state sponsored Parental Alienation and Child Protective Service child-taking – too. We propose that child custody should no longer be decided by one Judge but by a panel of 6 to 12 Jurors. The aim of the petition is to make the general public, judges, police officers, mental health care workers, child protection agencies, lawyers, as well as friends and family of the targeted children or their parents become aware of this growing problem. We need your help to protect the innocent children. We need your help to educate and make aware to the public the effects of Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting.

This petition is for all children world wide who are suffering as a result of the selfish affairs between two parents. When a child is alienated from a parent, it is not just a mere separation between two people, it is the creation of a life-long hiatus affecting the child for the rest of his/her life.

The emotional hole left in the child from the loss of a parent is generally filled with a great deal of negativity including, but not limited to: eating disorders, cutting themselves, criminal activities, antisocial and acting out behaviors, defiance, disrespect for all authority, cognitive distortion, depression, anxiety and suicide.

Parental Alienation is child abuse by one parent who ?programs? the child or children of the marriage to denigrate or ?target? the other parent in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child?s relationship with that parent. This syndrome is often a sign of the offending parent?s inability to separate from the couple?s conflict and focus on the child?s needs. Rather, the offending parent uses the children in his or her war against the other parent.

Parental Alienation deprives children of their right to be loved and to show love to both of their parents. The alienating parent (and often other family members) mentally manipulate or bully children into believing a loving parent is the cause of all of the their or the family?s problems; therefore the other parent must be the enemy, be feared, hated, disrespected and avoided. Hatred is not a normal emotion for children, rather it must be taught.

Signs of Parental Alienation include:

1.Bad -mouthing
2.Limiting Contact
3.Withdrawing love/getting angry
4.Telling child target parent doesn?t love him or her
5.Forcing child to choose/express loyalty
6.Bad-mouthing to create impression targeted parent is dangerous
7.Confiding in child about adult relationship
8.Limiting contact with extended family
9.Belittling target parent in front of child
10.Creating conflict between child and target parent

Continue reading Parental Alienation Child Abuse NO MORE. Automatic (50/50) shared joint custody by default in court..

False Protection Orders To Enable Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

False Protection Orders To Enable Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

Lurleen Hilliard – Tarantino Productions LLC

Business Manager & Publicist Tony Tarantino & Tarantino Productions LLC Hollywood & Founder & CEO at Nolonger Victims

This issue is one that has been brought to my attention on many occasions and it is something that not only infuriates me, due to the forced abuse on the child or children involved, but the fact that some Family Courts are enabling this abuse and any child abuse is illegal under all Laws in every state and yet some courts and judges are actually encouraging it and ignoring the devastation that it causes on the innocent victim the child or children who irrespective of how much their parents may hate each other, they still love them unconditionally as mom & dad, and should be allowed to have both in their lives.

A Protective Order is issued or should be issued solely to protect one person from another and possibly a child if there has been proven abuse on this child and on the person filing for the order. However far too many women in particular are Abusing the courts and these orders so that they can keep the child away from their father. This is not out of fear NO this is out of them manipulating the system and playing victim when in many cases, they are the abuser and they are who the child needs protecting from and not the loving dad. A proportion of attorneys are as guilty as these women are as they know full well that there is no need for a order of protection but the $$$$ is more important to them, rather than the welfare of a child which should be paramount in any court.

Far too many women are now abusing these orders so that they can ensure their ex and the father of their child can’t see, speak or have visitation with their child. As to do so would be to breach the order of protection that the mom filed and sadly many file it out of malice and not out of any fear at all. He is in a catch 22 situation. Either he risks contacting her so as to organize to spend time with his child or children and she files a breach of the order, OR he has to follow the order and then his rights under any Custody Order are been breached as he can’t get to spend the time with his child or children. This is called Parental Alienation and under the US Senate it is considered a form of Child Abuse. So why are so many Judges and Attorney’s getting away with Enabling the Abuse of an innocent child without them having a basis to do so.

Continue reading False Protection Orders To Enable Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

Getting Along for the Kids

Getting Along for the Kids

Woman Magazine, February 2005

Did you happen to catch the television show, The 101 Most Amazing, Memorable, Incredibly Exciting, Talked About Forever, Hollywood Moments of 2004? I’m a little fuzzy on the show’s exact title.

Sandwiched between Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction and Ashlee Simpson’s lip -synching malfunction was a segment featuring actress Demi Moore, ex-husband Bruce Willis, their children, and Demi’s boyfriend Ashton Kutcher. This moment made the list, as far as I can tell, because two divorced parents arrived together at a movie premier with their children – and the divorced Mom’s new love interest.

What is it about these divorced parents – parents who have obviously moved past the disappointment and bitterness of divorce for the sake of their children – that make their public appearance with their children so memorable? Okay, so I’m ignoring our celebrity-obsessed culture. But becoming good co-parents after divorce should be the number one priority for celebrity and non-celebrity parents. And the first step to healthy co-parenting is shedding any leftover divorce anger. People can’t be good co-parents if they are still angry with the child’s other parent.

At its worst, unresolved anger directed at the other parent after a divorce is a symptom of parental alienation, a highly destructive family dynamic. In parental alienation, one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously healthy, loving relationship between his or her child and the child’s other parent. In severe parental alienation the alienating parent and child work together to successfully eliminate the previously loved Mom or Dad from the child’s life.

Continue reading Getting Along for the Kids

Parental Alienation Is The Same As Child Abuse

Parental Alienation Is The Same As Child Abuse

To be delivered to The Georgia State House, The Georgia State Senate, Governor Nathan Deal, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama

Stop Family and Superior Courts from ignoring the existence of Parental Alienation during divorce and visitation proceedings. Parental Alienation emotionally destroys children, ruins children-parent relationships and often ends in murder.
Despite my best efforts to be a part of my children’s lives, I ended up being portrayed as a deadbeat dad who had deserted his children. A deadbeat dad who did not pay child support and should be locked away; A deadbeat dad who could not properly care for his autistic son without special training; A deadbeat dad who needed to be supervised by a Parental Supervision Service; A deadbeat dad who was good enough to serve his country but not good enough to be a part of his children’s lives.

In years before filing for a divorce I had spent regular quality time with both of my children. I did my best to give them a good active childhood. I maintained a military security clearance, attended college part time and worked a decent job. I had never been accused of domestic violence, I had never been incarcerated and I had not needed supervision to be able to spend time with my children. Within the first year of my notifying Marilyn of my intent to divorce her all of that changed. Marilyn Woody had deserted our marriage almost three years prior to me filing for a divorce. The reason I decided to divorce was because there was no opportunity to repair our relationship and due to her families influence she and I could not agree on how best to rear my autistic son. She thought there was a magic cure for Autism and her family supported her in that. I did not believe that there was any cure for Autism and I only wanted to mitigate my son’s autism with speech, logic and physical type therapies. Marilyn had expressed her interest to take my son for alternative therapies and I disagreed. I later asked for a divorce after I discovered that she had charged up my equity line of credit and a credit card at an alternative medicine clinic.

Continue reading Parental Alienation Is The Same As Child Abuse

Four Myths of Parental Alienation

Four Myths of Parental Alienation

Richmond County Bar Association Journal, February 2005

Do you know the definition of a myth?

According to Webster, a myth is a fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of the ideology of a society.

One of my favorite myths is the one about waiting one hour after eating before swimming. I’ve always wondered— why can’t someone swim immediately after eating a small salad? And should anyone swim only one hour after eating a big Thanksgiving dinner? After all, some people need at least one hour just to move from the table to the couch after finishing a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.

The problem with myths, like the myth about eating and swimming, is that they are too black and white. Shades of gray have no place in a good myth. Myths don’t give the society the option of considering specific circumstances.

For legal and mental health professionals working divorce and child custody cases, one subject that is rapidly reaching mythic proportion is parental alienation. The concept of parental alienation is pretty simple – one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously healthy, loving relationship between his or her child and the child’s other parent. In a severe case the alienating parent and child work together to successfully eliminate the previously loved Mom or Dad from the child’s life. Their campaign is aimed at destroying Mom or Dad’s position as a loving parent and responsible adult.

Continue reading Four Myths of Parental Alienation

5 Sign of Parental Alienation and Child Custody battles.

5 Sign of Parental Alienation and Child Custody battles.

A Google search on Parental Alienation will quickly reveal the heated debate that has erupted around the proposed addition of Parental Alienation Syndrome to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health.  Both sides of the debate are hot under the collar to defend their stance, as is evident in the comment section under any web article that addresses the topic.  Regardless of whether or not PAS is included in the forthcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, parental alienation is a topic that frequently arises in divorce cases involving children.

There is a very specific definition and diagnosis process outlined for Parental Alienation Syndrome, but for the purposes of this article we will focus the behavior and the legal impact —and save the diagnosing for the medical community.

During the divorce process, parental alienation is used as a blanket term to describe the behavior of negatively influencing the child to reject the other parent and impacting the relationship. In this use of the term, the severity of the influence can range from the occasional negative remark to the child about the other parent or it can be an intentional and ongoing attempt to degrade the relationship out of spite. Divorce coach Nancy Kay defines parental alienation as: “when one parent unduly influences the child to respond to the other parent in a consistently negative manner despite there not being evidence of abusive, destructive or harmful parenting behaviors.”

In either situation, the relationship suffers at detriment to both the child and parent.  Unfortunately for those in the throes of divorce, proving parental alienation can be difficult, costly and frequently results in the need for additional litigation.

The court’s primary interest in divorce and custody cases is protecting the welfare of any children that might be involved. So parental alienation will be factored into the custody decision in so much as the targeted parent can show evidence that the alienating parent is obstructing the relationship with the child.

KAY IDENTIFIES SOME OF THE SIGNS THAT INDICATE PARENTAL ALIENATION:

  • The child views the alienating parent as the good and honest parent and expresses only negative feelings toward the target parent who is seen as all bad. This black-and-white thinking is consistently reinforced by the alienating parent until the child expresses hatred, contempt and fear regarding the target parent while not showing any guilt or remorse.
  • The child denies being coached or influenced by one parent. “Mimics accusations and opinions of the alienating parent yet insists they have formulated ideas about the target parent on their own,” explains McGhee.
  • The child’s negativity extends to the targeted parent’s extended family. The child begins to refuse visits or contact with relatives of the target parent, even if they had a warm and interactive relationship prior to the alienation.
  • The child’s contempt, hatred and rejection toward the target parent are based on frivolous and unwarranted reasons.  The rejection is not based on personal experiences that are justified by abusive, harmful or destructive behaviors.
  • The child consistently rejects one parent and refuses to have contact with them. “Many parents describe having a formerly loving and close relationship with their children only to become completely leveled by the fact that their children no longer want to have any contact with them,” explains McGhee.

Continue reading 5 Sign of Parental Alienation and Child Custody battles.

Suffer The Children

Suffer The Children

The Star/Asia News Network

A FAMILY court judge ruled that the custody of Child A should be awarded to her mother after she convinced him in a one hour-interview in his chambers that she would be happier with her mother.

In another case, Child B pleaded and cried to stay with her father but she was ordered to go and live with her mother. The judge presiding over her case did not believe her testimony and was convinced that she had been brainwashed by her father and his relatives.

Interviews have become the common practice by family court judges in Malaysia to resolve intractable custody disputes.

However, many family law practitioners believe that this can be detrimental to the children as the judges are not experts in child psychology and counselling.

One strong opponent is the Bar Council’s Family Law Committee chair Lalitha Menon.

“Most family judges are not even trained in family matters, on what principles should apply and what they should look at, what more child psychology. How can they decide on what the child needs based solely on their interview with him or her?”

Menon stresses that it is not easy to interview a child. “It is not a simple case of asking the child simple questions like: ‘Who do you like more?’ or ‘Who is a better parent?’

Continue reading Suffer The Children

Alienated Parents Face Heartbreak

Alienated Parents Face Heartbreak

• When children become pawns in the battle

A young mother in Ipoh turned to the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department last month for help in finding her daughter who had been snatched away by her ex-husband. Coping with the absence of a child or children after a marriage fails is heartbreaking, as some estranged parents are finding out.

ONE of the happiest moments in Prasanth’s* life is when his then one-year-old daughter uttered the word accha (Father) for the first time. That was on Christmas Day two years ago, and it was a perfect present for him.

These days, though, Prasanth, a sales executive, has to sometimes hear the most hurtful things from her. She would tell Prasanth “I only want anna (mother) and pathi (grandmother). I don’t want accha,” before slamming down the phone.

“How does she know how to say things like that? She is only three years old,” relates a distraught sounding Prasanth during a telephone interview.

Prasanth, 43, is a victim of parental alienation, a situation where one parent, after a marriage breaks down in a bad way, intentionally attempts to alienate his or her child from the other parent, by poisoning his/her mind, and usually succeeds. (www.pemalik.org). It is a situation that affects both fathers and mothers.

When divorce or custody proceedings are going on, the domineering parent will not allow access of the child to the other parent, says lawyer Lee Swee Seng.

“The parent will say that the child has tuition or co-curricular school activities. They will make up any excuse to prevent the other parent from having any contact with the child,” he explains.

In worse case scenarios, children can be snatched away, as happened to the young mother in Ipoh whose plight was reported in a local English tabloid last month.

When Prasanth’s marriage broke down, his wife and daughter moved to Penang, and he claims he was not allowed to see the child.

“It is one of the worst feelings that any father could go through,” says Prasanth who lives in Perak.

The only time he was permitted to see his daughter was when she came for her medical check-up, he says. And even then, it was only for five minutes – to pay for her medical bill, he adds.

“When she was a baby, I used to jump when she cried. Sometimes, I even dream of her crying only to wake up alone at night,” says Prasanth, who took to overeating and even had to take sleeping pills to cope with the loss of his daughter.

For want of something to do, he took up studying law, and is in the midst of completing his degree.

Recently, his daughter went to live with his brother-in-law, a lawyer in Kuala Lumpur.

“He knew my legal rights to visit my daughter,” says Prasanth. So, every Saturday, he takes a bus to Kuala Lumpur to visit his daughter for the day.

“She is always excited and jumping. When it’s time to go back, I try not to see her, as both of us will start crying,” he says.

Harjit Kaur*, 42, says she had to endure two months of anguish when she couldn’t see her one-and-a-half-year-old son, who was taken away by her husband.

Her marriage was on the rocks, she says, but she was fine about ending it: all she wanted was her son.

Harjit had no choice but to go to court to get interim custody of the boy. During the process, she was only granted access during the weekends.

Continue reading Alienated Parents Face Heartbreak

Parent Alienation in Malaysia

Parent Alienation in Malaysia

Malaysian Lawyer

By Mr. Edwin

I am sad to say that Malaysian Lawyers are all money minded. I hope this does not apply to all of them. From my point of view it seems so. If you do not have money then forget about your case even if you are right. Where is the Legal Justice in our system???????

My first lawyer said it was RM8,000 to handle my divorce case after my wife filed for divorce. That was all in installments. OK I can find that kind of money. Then a few months later she said Ihave to pay RM8,000 as a deposit and then another RM9,000 in installments. I told her I could not afford her.

I had to find another lawyer. The next one said I had only to pay RM5,000 to settle my divorce and I thought “WOW” that is even better. BUT….. he cheated me . He sold me out….
He failed to represent me. In a court hearing ..

  1. He failed to attend court
  2. He asked my wife’s lawyer to stand in for him
  3. He did not tell me he did not attend court at all in a hearing and the judge came down heavily on me
  4. He did not tell me anything until I confronted him about delay and then I found out what he had done. This was 4 months later (Oct 05). I looked bad in the judge’s eyes.

I filed a case against him with the Advocates & Solicitors Disciplinary Board. The case took about a year. This lawyer totally disappeared and the ASDB could not locate him. He has left his company and never showed up for disciplinary board meetings. The ASDB finally fined him RM5,000. The damage was already done.

I had to find another lawyer a few months later who would handle my case. For more than a year I did not get any affidavits filed. My third lawyer was bad also. Within 3 months after my second lawyer absconded I found another in Dec 2005. She said she would file a affidavit as soon as possible.

I gave her all the evidence I had and she too 3 months to prepare my affidavit in Mar 06 and then in Dec 2006 I had found out she had not done her work. I did a search on court files 20th Sept 2006

  1. She said she filed my affidavit in Mar 06 but I found out it was filed only on 15th May 2006 which is 5 months after I hired her.
  2. I found the evidence “Watered down” – she did not file in the more recent police report- Police report on 9th Mar 2004, RPT4074/04- wife attacked me.
  3. The maid’s medical report had the wrong Doctor’s clinic name.
  4. She sent in a blurred pic of the maid’s beaten up face. Poor black and white photocopy. I gave her a colored pic.
  5. She is ransoming me my files because I discharged her services. As of 10th July 2007 which is a year later, she has still not discharged herself as my lawyer in the court files. This is what the judge informed my on 10th July 2007.

I have located another lawyer and it is 2 weeks now and he has not replied me whether he will take my case.

Where is the integrity in Malaysian lawyers? Where is the code as a Lawyer for Justice???

Continue reading Parent Alienation in Malaysia

Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is an abnormal psychological condition most often observed in children affected by high conflict divorce and/or separation. It is one of the most damaging outcomes affecting children as a result of exposure to Hostile-Aggressive Parenting. The most common symptom of children affected by PAS is their severe opposition to contact with one parent and/or overt hatred toward such parent when there is little and often, no logical reason to explain the child’s behavior. The effects of PAS can last well into adulthood and may last for a lifetime with tragic consequences.

Parental Alienation can be defined as follows:

Parental Alienation Syndrome is an abnormal psychological condition in a child which adversely impacts the child’s relationship with a (target) parent in a number of clearly identifiable and dysfunctional ways and the causes of the disorder can be reasonably traced back to the actions, behaviours and decision-making of a person or persons who are interfering with the child’s relationship with the (target) parent.Although in the vast majority of cases, it is one of a child’s parents who is the victim of the child’s PAS, other persons such as siblings, step parents grandparents and friends of the child may also be adversely victimized in a similar manner. For the purposes of determining the presence of PAS, the word “parent” may also be used to refer to any other person whose relationship with the child may be adversely affected in a similar manner as described for a parent.

Those who conduct assessments into Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) must understand PAS and know how to identify its presence as some information being gathered for an evaluation of HAP could be tainted due to a child being affected by PAS providing untruthful information.

Up until the development of the “Risk assessment protocol to evaluate the risk of harm to children caused by Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP)”, identifying the presence of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was usually shrouded in clinical terms that were vague and open to interpretation and, therefore, susceptible to endless argument by opposing lawyers and their experts within the adversarial court system. Often the term PAS was grouped together to include the negative behaviour of one or both of the parents, rather than being identified as a mental health condition of the child. PAS clearly refers to a mental health condition of the child. PAS clearly is a disorder in a child which can be easily identified by referencing a simple list of identifying criteria and qualifiers. The actions, behaviours and decision-making of persons (usually called HAP parents) influencing the child are the causes of PAS and should not be confused with the condition of PAS.

Continue reading Hostile Aggressive Parenting

HOW TO TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE

HOW TO TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE

by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

  • It is surprising how often parents fail to tell their children why they are divorcing or to explain the family’s new living arrangements.
  • When parents do not talk openly about the divorce, the children are less likely to voice their own concerns. Instead, the children will develop a variety of fantasies to explain the divorce and custody situation, none of which may correspond in the least with reality.
  • Parents should be together when they tell children about their impending separation. This offers the children a reassuring demonstration that their parents can continue to function cooperatively in meeting the needs of their children.
  • The new living arrangements should be carefully explained. Parents should tell children why they decided on these particular living arrangements.
  • If, for any reason, the children are going to see little of one parent after the separation, it is imperative that they understand that this is no reflection of their own worth. For example, if a mother, seeking autonomy and escape from the demands of family life, moves far away from the children, she needs to explain that her decision reflects her own needs and is not a reaction to anything the children did. Unfortunately, this is a very difficult concept for children to grasp. Children who see little of their noncustodial parent invariably suffer a loss of self-esteem. Nevertheless, parents should try their best to explain that their absence is no reflection on the children. The children should then be encouraged to seek substitute relationships (by spending more time with friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.)
  • Children should be encouraged to talk about their reactions and feelings and to ask any questions on their mind. Children sometimes need to ask the same question repeatedly. Although this gets tedious for parents, they should understand that the questions are not intended to “bug” them. Rather, such questions are a sign that the children have still not fully understood or accepted the answers. Try to be patient with these questions and repeat your answers. When your children no longer need to ask questions they will stop on their own. If you order them to stop asking questions, they will not stop thinking about the issues; they will merely exclude you from their inner thoughts.
  • Although it doesn’t help for parents to “fall to pieces” when announcing the divorce, it is certainly expected that they will experience and communicate strong feelings. It does not hurt the children to see their parents cry. Breaking up is hard to do, and when parents are open about expressing their own sadness at the failure of the marriage, this gives children permission to acknowledge and communicate their own sadness. The more children communicate their feelings, the easier it is for parents to provide needed reassurance and guidance.
  • Be aware that your own attitude about the divorce may color the way you respond to your children’s feelings. Generally the parent who wants the divorce is inclined to emphasize the positive aspects for the children (eg., less parental fighting, two birthday parties, more Christmas or Hanukkah presents). To assuage guilt, this parent may overlook or minimize the children’s distress. The parent less in favor of the divorce does the opposite. This parent is ever on the lookout for children’s stress reactions and uses this as evidence to defend their opposition to the divorce.

Continue reading HOW TO TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE

Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy

Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy

The declaration of war by one parent on another creates radioactive fallout, which contaminates for generations.

By Judge Michele F. Lowrance (ret)
Updated: December 02, 2016

I was a judge on the divorce bench for 20 years, and I watched the wreckage of the corrosive legacy of parental alienation and visitation interference play out over decades. We have no statistics for measuring this group, because the victims are too vast. But the concentric circles include the children, their children and the extended family as well. The declaration of war by one parent on another creates radioactive fallout, which contaminates for generations.

The alienating parent treats the target parent like a disease in the child that must be removed. They pmake the child’s survival contingent upon such removal. So the child must extricate the parent without the privilege of grieving the loss. These are crippling circumstances.

I have witnessed impassioned declarations of love for a child by an alienating parent to masquerade the venom he/she feels for the other parent. Parents who do this are not interested in mere control. Their stakes are higher: total annihilation of the target parent’s bond with the child. Little by little, alienation in a divorce case starts to take root. And when it fully takes root, I see the child’s boundaries collapse before my eyes. Soon the child forgets how to protect him or herself, and must align with the alienating parent as if life depends on it — because it does.

Perhaps curing this degenerating influence may, in the future, be addressed by therapy. But for now, we can and must do better. I want to tell you how to be proactive in court, and how to fight against the inclination to give up like so many hurt, alienated parents — who are, frankly, not always welcomed in the courts.

Continue reading Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy

How to Prove Parental Alienation Syndrome

How to Prove Parental Alienation Syndrome

When parents divorce, harsh feelings and resentment can lead to parental alienation, in which one parent engages in emotionally manipulative tactics to convince the child that the other parent is a bad person who doesn’t love or care about the child. Often this is far from the case, and the targeted parent would do anything to stop this abusive behavior and maintain a positive relationship with their child. If your former spouse is attempting to alienate you from your child, you may be able to get the courts to support you – but first you have to be able to prove parental alienation is taking place, which often can be quite difficult.

Recording Behavioral Patterns

Keep a diary. If you’re not already doing so, keep a daily record of anything that happens involving your child, including conversations or incidents with the other parent.

  • Your records of what happens can be crucial in proving that parental alienation is taking place, which often may mean disproving accusations from the other parent.
  • For example, the other parent may file a motion to modify your parenting plan because you don’t have time to spend with the child. Detailed records of the time you and the child have spent together, including tickets to any events or activities and photographs of the two of you together can help prove the other parent is trying to distance the child from you or harm your relationship.
  • Take note of any special requests your ex-spouse makes or adjustments they want made to the court-ordered parenting plan. Often an alienating parent will request adjustments and then blame you when you don’t agree.
  • A log of activities is especially important if there are recurring problems with your parenting time and adherence to the court-ordered schedule.
  • Keep in mind that courts differ regarding how much control a child has to decide whether they want to visit the non-custodial parent – and it often depends on the age of the child as well. However, courts typically look askance at parents who offer their children the option of doing something that is contrary to a court order. If your child says something like “Dad said I didn’t have to come visit you next week if I didn’t want to,” include that in your diary as evidence of possible parental alienation.
  • If you have trouble communicating with your ex-spouse, try your best to keep all communication in writing. That way you both have a record of what was discussed. Save copies of texts or emails, as they may be useful as evidence if your ex-spouse later claims they didn’t agree to something, or tries to argue that you agreed to something when you didn’t.
  • If your ex-spouse is sending you accusing or alienating messages, maintain records of them in chronological order so you can demonstrate a pattern of alienation.

 

Continue reading How to Prove Parental Alienation Syndrome

How Can I Prove Parental Alienation?

How Can I Prove Parental Alienation?

When the parents of a minor child go through a divorce it impacts everyone involved. The extent to which each party is impacted, and the degree to which that impact is negative, depends largely on how the parents conduct themselves during and after the separation. Ideally, the parents will work together to continue to co-parent the child after the divorce. Unfortunately, things do not always go that smoothly. Sometimes, bitterness and animosity can cause continued problems between the parents, even after the divorce. Naturally, those problems have an impact on the child. When negative feelings are at their worst they can develop into parental alienation. If you are the target of parental alienation it is crucial that you take steps to bring the situation to the attention of the court as soon as possible because parental alienation rarely stops without intervention. Your concern, however, may center on the question “How can I prove parental alienation?”

The term “parental alienation syndrome” is relatively new; however, the conduct that describes parental alienation syndrome, or PAS, is hardly new. While a small amount of anger and bitterness from one parent to the other, as well as confusion on the part of a child, may be normal following a divorce, those emotions should certainly not be overwhelming and all-encompassing. When PAS is present, a child effectively views the non-custodial parent as a villain and the source of all problems in the family. The child’s viewpoint, however, is the result of brain-washing on the part of the custodial parent. Though there is a long list of psychological terms and examples used to describe PAS, the bottom line is that is occurs when a custodial parent embarks on a campaign to convince a child that the other parent is a bad person.

If you are the target of PAS you may find that convincing a court of the reality of your situation is often an uphill battle. Though PAS is recognized as a legitimate syndrome by some courts, judges are often reluctant to accept the gravity of the situation. Judges often believe a parent is exaggerating the seriousness of the situation. Some steps you can take to try and prove that you are the target of PAS include:

Continue reading How Can I Prove Parental Alienation?

When Ex-Wives Become Alienators

When Ex- Wives Become Alienators

WHEN EX-WIVES BECOME ALIENATORS

After reading the list, don’t get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating your ex-spouse. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children. Here are common mistakes:

To prevent the devastating effects of Parental Alienation, you must begin by recognizing the symptoms of PA. You will notice that many of the symptoms or behaviors focus on the parent. When the child exhibits hatred and vilifies the targeted parent, then the condition becomes parental alienation syndrome. After reading the list, don’t get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children.

1. Giving children choices when they really have no choice about visits. Allowing the child to decide for themselves to visit when the court order says there is no choice sets up the child for conflict. The child will usually blame the non-residential parent for not being able to decide to choose whether or not to visit. The parent is now victimized regardless of what happens; not being able to see his children or if they see them, the children are angry. Again, if you do these things intentionally, it make give you a chuckle now knowing you are hurting your ex, but you are truly hurting your child who eventually grows up, learns how things work and turns their back on YOU in turn. In literally 90% of these cases, the parent who causes the problem ends up with the short stick.

2. Telling the child what you want them to think is “everything” about the marital relationship or ‘all’ reasons for the divorce is also alienating behavior. The parent usually argues that they are “just wanting to be honest” with their children. This practice is destructive and painful for the child. The alienating parent’s motive is for the child to think less of the other parent. In reality, the child always looks up to a parent. If that parent lets them down in person, then that parent suffers. If you are doing these things, you are in person and it is a let down. You will suffer eventually for these actions.

3. Refusing to acknowledge that children have property and may want to transport their possessions between residences. Doesn’t matter who bought who what. Once it is given to someone, it is theirs.

4. Resisting or refusing to cooperate by not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities. Telling professionals not to let the other parent have access is going to work against you. These professionals know what you are doing. They may humor you but they know the law. It is not yours to rewrite. So ‘behind’ your back, they will grant legally to the other parent whatever it is they need. Also note, if the opposing parent were so evil you felt they do not deserve access, why are they allowed to walk the street? It will backfire in a big way in time.

5. A parent blaming the other parent for financial problems, breaking up the family, changes in lifestyle, or having a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. Just like when you hear someone else tell the same tale, the child may not know it yet, but in time, just like when you heard it, they will know you are an excuse maker.

6. Refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule in order to respond to the child’s needs or other parent’s work schedule. The alienating parent may also schedule the children is so many activities that the other parent is never given the time to visits. Of course we all know you do this so when the targeted parent protests you can described them as not caring and selfish. However, the child will eventually wise up that the complaining parent only wants to see them and you were the one conflicting the schedule.

7. Assuming that if a parent had been physically abusive with the other parent, it follows that the parent will eventually assault the child. This assumption is not always true. Sometimes you cause the other parent to dislike you and become abusive. Pretending this is not true does not change the facts.

8. Asking the child to choose one parent over another parent causes the child considerable distress. If you try to sneak in “Well, which of us would you rather be with?” you are looking for trouble. Typically, they do not want to reject either parent, but instead want to avoid the issue. The child, not the parent, should initiate any suggestion for change of residence.

9. Children will always at one time or another become angry with a parent. This is normal, particularly if the parent disciplines or has to say “no”. If for any reason the anger is not allowed to heal, you can suspect parental alienation. Trust your own experience as a parent. Children will forgive and want to be forgiven if given a chance. Be very suspicious when the child calmly says they cannot remember any happy times with you or say anything they like about you. That means someone at home is brainwashing them.

10. Be suspicious when a parent or step-parent raises the question about changing the child’s name. A mother can change her name back to maiden but in the majority of cases where the child is denied the father’s last name, the amount of further alienation is immeasurable. There is no other means that compares to show what is to come if a mother changes or denies the father’s name. It will not get better.

11. When children cannot give reasons for being angry towards a parent or their reasons are very vague without any details. This is because the alienated parent has done nothing to them. The child becomes confused but eventually realizes, it was all brain washing.

12. A parent having secrets, special signals, a private rendezvous, or words with special meanings are very destructive and reinforce an on-going alienation. Act your age before the child out grows you.

13. When a parent uses a child to spy or covertly gather information for the parent’s own use, the child receives a damaging message that demeans the victimized parent. Try this with a teenager and they may just switch homes on you.

14. Parents setting up temptations that interfere with the child’s visitation. Planning vacations or special events or trips to the mall to buy something they always wanted. Making the child late is another common mistake. As a full time parent, you can easily schedule things around the visiting parent. Learn to do so.

15. A parent suggesting or reacting with hurt or sadness to their child having a good time with the other parent will cause the child to withdraw and not communicate. They will frequently feel guilty or conflicted not knowing that it’s “okay” to admit they have fun with their other parent. Just as different breeds of dogs cannot mate, they still get along and realize it’s OK to be different. The faster you do this, the easier the rest of your life will become.

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